Rattlesnake tastes like chicken. At least that was the general consensus at this year’s Across the Track Hunting Club’s annual Wild Game Cookout.
This year the cookout was held in a field on Kelly Farm Road on Saturday, November 11.
Many pulled up to the event, held each fall, laughing and smiling, carrying coolers and sports chairs.
It gave people the chance to wild eat meats they probably would have never tried, otherwise.
The menu included deep-fried rattlesnake, wild turkey, wild boar, opossum, deer, racoon, alligator, bear and much more.
The Across the Track Hunting Club has been in existence as an organized group for almost 30 years.
While the members of the club invite people to join the party, they also educate them about eating off the land and not being wasteful.
Just about any parts of the animals that are consumable were cooked and served that day in a variety of ways.
The annual cookout, which was an all-day event for all ages, didn’t just attract people from Gadsden County – some traveled from South Georgia and other parts of North Florida for the event.
Members of the club camped out on the field the night before cleaning and prepping the assortment of wild meat.
The cookout began Saturday morning.
For those who didn’t want wild game, an array of dishes such as chicken, collard greens, cabbage, and rice were served.
Father-daughter duo Chad and Monet Youmans drew a crowd–as they do each year–when they began skinning rattlesnakes later in the afternoon.
The Youmans said the snakes were caught throughout North Florida.
Chad said peanut farmers call him when the snakes get caught up in their tractors and other farming equipment.
“We cut the head off…that’s where the poison is at,” Chad shared. “Then we put it in a bag and put it in the freezer.”
He also noted that snake meat is no good if the snake bites itself.
Chad bagged the snake skins up for some of the cookout guests to take home as a party favor.
“I’m going to get it made into a belt,” Mr. Tyger said, while showing off the rattlesnake belt he was sporting that day.
To skin the snakes, Chad made one slit on the snakes that were beheaded in advance and Monet slowly pulled the skin off.
Once the internal organs were removed, the rattlesnake meat went through an assembly line of being cleaned, soaked and milk, then battered in flour before being battered in flour, and deep fried by Chad’s son Darius Youmans.
They followed the same assembly process to fry the bear meat immediately after.
Throughout the day, many partygoers danced to tunes played by a DJ, while others tuned in to the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University vs. Lincoln and Florida State University vs. University of Miami football games.
Although a first time for some, the cookout was like a family reunion for most, especially the members of the hunting club and their loved ones.
Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service